OUR Teaching Assistant of the Year award was won by a woman whose hard work and dedication to a little boy with autism has helped to change his life.

When five-year-old Harry started at St Benedict's Catholic Primary School in September, Seana Murray was there to help him every step of the way.

Harry, who has autism, was non-verbal and struggled to communicate with others.

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His mum was so anxious she feared he wouldn't be able to cope in mainstream education but thanks to the tireless efforts of Seana, Harry is thriving.

Going out of her way to learn more about his needs and how to calm him when frustrated, she undertook a Makaton sign language course to be able to communicate with him.

Her efforts have been unwavering and the results speak for themselves.

Harry’s parents say their son now runs into school every day with a smile on his face.

He is learning to write, to dress himself and even learning to talk more - all of which they never thought he would be able to do.

Seana, 27, who was shocked to win the award sponsored by the Warrington Guardian, said: “I’d just like to say thank you to all the children I work with every day because they are what makes my job worthwhile.

“All of the colleagues I work with are amazing, I couldn’t ask to work in a better school, St Benedict’s Catholic Primary School is an amazing school.

“I’d like to mention Dianne Curtis and Joanna Rosa because when I first started my career, I was a nervous girl and these two ladies helped me through all of that- they were always there just out of the kindness of their hearts.

“I’d like to thank our head teacher Liam Anderson because if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be standing here at all.

“He’s seen something in me and given me the opportunity to actually help the children.

“He thought ‘I’m going to give this girl a chance’ and I’m so grateful for it.”

Jen Jevans from Latchford St James CE Primary was awarded highly commended for her work with her year four class.